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how old for piano lessons?

(37 Posts)
lolaismyfavoriteandmybest Sun 12-Jul-09 17:56:11

dd is almost 3 and is showing an interest in playing the piano. She can already pick out nursery rhymes (with one finger) some she's learned from me, some from a piano book and she's translated them to her toy piano. today I heard her working out the tune for baa baa black sheep by singing it and trying to find the notes on the piano. she got quite close!

she has some issues with me showing her what to do (but only me) and I can't really play myself! so I was wondering about very very basic lessons. but I have no idea where to look! I don't even know what age its possible to start from.

The last thing I want to do is turn into a scary pushy parent! and I am aware that proposing piano lessons for a 3 year old may be on the wrong side of the line... but on the other hand if she does turn out to have a talent I would like to encourage it.

I'm sure dd isn't the only musician toddler out there so any tips on how to encourage her to build on her skills would be greatly appreciated

blondissimo Sun 12-Jul-09 18:02:27

I would just encourage her to work things out on her own - play lots of tunes to her so she can remember the melody.
Also, if you play the melody, get her to copy it back to you (think this is how I started out).
I would possibly look in a local paper or the yellow pages for a music teacher and give them a call to find out what age they take pupils.

Metella Sun 12-Jul-09 18:08:18

When I looked into it I couldn't find anyone who would take a child under 5 and most wanted the child to be at least 6.

lolaismyfavoriteandmybest Sun 12-Jul-09 18:30:51

metella, thats what I would expect. but there must be something out there for the tots with early interest. she can't be the only one....

blondissimo thats what I'm doing but I tend to interfere when she gets it wrong, then she gets cross and wont play anymore. I've solved some of our other conflicts by backing off and letting someone else work with her as she doesn't take direction from me well for anything but I think the rest of our family are all tone deaf. It was me trying to teach my mum (unsuccessfully) to play that got dd started.

donnie Sun 12-Jul-09 18:37:35

my friend is a piano teacher and she recommends 7 as a good age to start - that's probably not what you want to hear! my dd is 7.7 and has just started lessons and her teacher won't take children below 7 unless they seem especially able or gifted musically.
You can get some good beginner piano books but unless your child can read I think it would be difficultl to make headway with them.

lolaismyfavoriteandmybest Sun 12-Jul-09 19:42:31

no she can't read

books might be a good idea though to teach me how to teach her..... I'm worried about instilling bad habbits

smee Sun 12-Jul-09 20:34:29

I asked a friend this - he's a musician and also has a boy the same age as my son. He's read up on it and discovered the musical ear develops between 5 and 6, so that's the right time to start. Though only if it's a fantastic teacher and your child wants to.

asteamedpoater Sun 12-Jul-09 21:01:37

I definitely wouldn't organise piano lessons for her at 3 - as you say, she doesn't like being shown what to do, she just enjoys discovering and working things out for herself. Formal lessons could well take the fun out of it for her.

I started learning the piano from about age 6, as I nagged my parents to let me have lessons, having watched my older siblings all learning to play. Prior to that, I did a lot of fun piano playing by myself and also taught myself to play the recorder, which I was given as a 3rd birthday present. Much better to wait a bit and let her lead the way, I think. I'm the only one in my family who actually begged to have piano lessons and I'm the only one who continued with it to Grade 8.

roisin Sun 12-Jul-09 21:34:55

7 or nearly 7.

Quattrocento Sun 12-Jul-09 21:37:15

DD started at 5, which is reasonable. DS started at 7. They really need to be able to read in order to read music I think but perhaps someone competent to pronounce can come and help.

23balloons Sun 12-Jul-09 21:44:48

Ds2 seemed quite musical so I signed him up for piano lessons via school and he is flying. He really does seem to have an aptitude, but has to do theory work involving copying various notes etc - nobody else in the family plays so he really is doing it on his own. He is reading music really well and singing the songs at the same time.

He is practically a free reader but even I am amazed at the way he is progressing. He is 6 but will be 7 in Sept. I don't think he would have coped with the lessons any earlier. He said the first lesson "nearly made his brain explode!"

I think it would be good to just let your daughter carry on as she is and seek more formal lessons later unless you can find a teacher specialising in very young players - sounds like she is playing by ear, rather than reading the notes.

lolaismyfavoriteandmybest Sun 12-Jul-09 23:03:02

Wow what a lot of posts! thanks everyone.

asteamed- you are right. I'm trying to take the fun out of it for her aren't i! I need to relax and let her enjoy it rather than try to push every time she shows an aptitude for anything. the problem is she has some SN so I'm constantly being told where she is behind and what she can't/will never be able to do. I tend to get a bit OTT and want to push her hard to prove them all wrong. dd is not only a pfb but an only so I obsess far far more than I should

the other problems is my friend/CM has very gifted children (no SN)and her parentlng style is very different from mine. If her kids can't do something she tells them they are bad at what they are doing, the kids grit their teeth and try harder and suddenly they are the best at whatever it is. Sometimes I wonder how much of their achievments are genetic ability and how much is them being pushed to succeed by their parents.... and if I pushed dd more would she go further in life???

23baloons, she is definitely playing by ear. there are no notes. If she was reading music I'd have mailed mensa not mn I have shown her sheet music but She's just getting to grips with letters and words and I'm not very good at explaining the concept of written music so she looks at me completely blankly.

blondissimo Mon 13-Jul-09 08:15:43

Think your friend's parenting skills seem a bit odd - yes the kids are getting results, but it's not a multi-million pound business - do they need to be the best at everything?

Your dd is only 3 - I think it's a bit early to be talking about pushing her and how far she will go in life.

Perhaps look around for a pre-school music group where they just go and have fun and they can use all sorts of different instruments. If she is more talented in this area, it will be nice for you to see her performing well in this environment.

foofi Mon 13-Jul-09 08:32:46

My youngest pupil is 5 - he's bright and enthusiastic and he enjoys it so I'm happy to carry on. However, I think if you start later you make quicker progress - about 7 or 8 is fine.

lolaismyfavoriteandmybest Mon 13-Jul-09 19:43:52

blondissimo. my friends parenting approach works for her and her kids. its not for everyone. definitely ot for me and dd! but sometime I wonder how much more she could do....

Foofi, thanks for that info. she'll be 5 in no time. probably 7 in the blink of an eye. I'm not very organised so by the time I've found her a tutor she will have probably left home.....

the pfb moment has passed. I'm going to let her be a baby for a bit longer

blondissimo Mon 13-Jul-09 21:22:23

lola - hope you don't think I was being rude - it was just when you said that "If her kids can't do something she tells them they are bad at what they are doing", it sounded a bit mean and I thought, aw poor kids.

lolaismyfavoriteandmybest Tue 14-Jul-09 20:31:02

I've got to admit I was at her house when her 4 year old was trying to play a game on the wii. my friend laughed at how bad she was and I thought poor kid and thought it was really mean. then I saw her dd set her jaw and try harder. 2 more goes and she was perfect.... It seemed cruel but the child wasn't upset. infact she was really pleasede with her new skill which she wouldn't have got had her parents said "never mind its OK to be last" which I did.

and have seen my friend do the same herself

and not just with trivial things like computer games. things like aceing her degree whilst caring for her mum who had cancer. I would have (and did) flake out under so much less pressure. she just dug deep and came through.

I was never pushed as a child (except when school wanted to keep me down a year when I was 6 and I made up 2 years progress over the summer hols!) I sometimes wonder what would have happened had I been pushed more.

sorry hope this makes sense dd throwing tantrum with drum to get me off mn....

Hulababy Tue 14-Jul-09 20:36:36

We were told 6y at earliest. DD started in January, aged 6.5y and is making good progress.

I think TBH spending £10-15 a week on lessons for a 3 year old would be too much, if you could find a teacher to take her on.

Hulababy Tue 14-Jul-09 20:40:22

lola - I really don't like the sound of your friend's parenting skills. There are far nicer ways of encouraging a child to do well without laughing at their first efforts and making them fee they aren't good enough.

cat64 Tue 14-Jul-09 20:40:27

Message withdrawn

Tinfoil Tue 14-Jul-09 23:08:48

I would go for the recorder for the time being This will encourage a musical ear which will help if your DD chooses to learn another instrument later. There are some good basic recorder tutor books for children so no need for formal lessons. These often include a basic introduction to music notation in an enjoyable way for younger children, as it's often young children who learn the recorder IYSWIM.

lingle Wed 15-Jul-09 09:17:16

I agree with all the others. My 6 year old son sang tunefully for a year before he could talk but is only starting piano lessons now. My nearly 4 year old sings all bloody day long but I wouldn't start him on music lessons.

But if you can't resist scratching the itch, google Suzuki and learn a bit about this method - this will give you some buzzwords to say to your competitive friend!!!

If your daughter is likely to like ballet, get some ballet shoes and recordings of Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, etc so she can dance around the room and feel the music going through her body.

NancysGarden Wed 15-Jul-09 09:27:57

I had lessons from the age of 4 as I begged my parents to teach me and although we had a piano neither of them played. That said, I had an extremely pushy teacher who frankly didn't do me any favours. My first really good lessons were much later from a much child-friendlier teacher.

madeindevon2 Fri 17-Jul-09 15:58:15

i was desperate to learn piano at aged 4. the school at the time wouldnt let me have lessons unless i learnt the recorder....i had no interest in the recorder.
so mum found me teacher out of school when i was 5. very relaxed and laid back and i loved learning to play. weekly lessons...but i didnt get in too much trouble for not practising!
when i went to senior school i switched teachers. to a very serious one within the school. that was fine i wanted to learn. i had 2 lessons a week. i practised a lot...(she once kicked me out of lesson because it was obvious i hadnt practised...) i got distinction at grade 8 aged 16.
just last month i had "my" piano....my 5th bday present... delivered to my house (parents had it as my previous houses been to small for it) and my 2 yr old has had a few tinkles!! whether or not he is interested tho remains to be seen!

MollieOolala Fri 17-Jul-09 16:10:23

Ds was desperate to learn from the age of 3. I took him to a piano teacher who decided he wasn't ready although I think the main issue was that he was a boy (she made some negative comment about boys).

He started school when he had just turned 4 and was offered piano lessons. We are at the end of his first year and he has done really well. Lovely report from his piano teacher about how attentive and enthusiastic he is.

I think that waiting a year was a good thing, although I didn't think so at the time. He has 20 minute lessons which I think is about right.

He has even played at school assembly (proud mummy moment).

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